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Louvre shooting: Egyptian man believed to be machete-wielding Paris attacker

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 4/02/2017 Saphora Smith
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The machete-wielding man who tried to attack soldiers at the Louvre Museum in Paris on Friday is believed to be Egyptian, French authorities said.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said the attacker may have travelled from Dubai to Paris on a tourist visa last month.

The man, 29, who was reportedly living in the United Arab Emirates, is currently fighting for his life in hospital after being shot.

Police at the scene of the shooting at the Louvre museum. © YANN BOHAC/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock Police at the scene of the shooting at the Louvre museum. French police are trying to establish if he acted alone or under instruction, Mr Molins added. 

Parts of central Paris went into lockdown shortly after 10am local time on Friday after a man carrrying two machetes and two backpacks tried to attack soldiers at the entrance of the Louvre.

Police said the man reacted when soldiers told him he could not enter a shopping area below the museum with his bags.

The man tried to attack the soldiers after yelling "Allahu akbar", the Arabic phrase for "God is great". A soldier opened fire and the man was struck five times, including once in the stomach, Paris police chief Michel Cadot said.

The backpacks did not contain any explosives, he added.

French president Francois Hollande told reporters at an EU summit in Malta that there was "no doubt" the attack was of a "terrorist nature".

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He said the situation around the landmark museum is "totally under control" but the overall threat to France remains.

Mr Hollande said he expects the assailant to be questioned "when it is possible to do so".

Mr Molins said the attacker had no identity papers but investigators used his mobile phone to find out that he was a resident in the United Arab Emirates and came to Paris on a tourist visa on January 26.

Two days later he is said to have bought two military machetes at a gun shop in Paris.

Mr Molins said the man's identity has not been formally confirmed but the French soldiers' quick reactions put an end to "a terror attack" at one of Paris' most iconic tourist attractions.

Several police raids are said to have happened in the French capital, two French officials close to the investigation said.

A police union official, Luc Poignant, said one of the raids took place on Rue de Ponthieu, a street near the Champs-Elysees Avenue.

The Louvre will stay closed for the rest of Friday but will reopen on Saturday, culture minister Audrey Azoulay said.

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